The Sick Man and the Fireman, a Fable by Robert Louis Stevenson, 1901


            There was once a sick man in a burning house, to whom
there entered a fireman.
            "Do not save me," said the sick man. "Save those who are strong."
            "Will you kindly tell me why?" inquired the fireman, for
he was a civil fellow.
            "Nothing could possibly be fairer," said the sick man.
"The strong should be preferred in all cases, because they are of more
service in the world."
            The fireman pondered a while, for he was a man of some
philosophy. "Granted," said he at last, as a part of the roof fell in,
"but for the sake of conversation, what would you lay down as the
proper service of the strong?"
            "Nothing can possibly be easier," returned the sick man,
"the proper service of the strong is to help the weak."
            Again the fireman reflected, for there was nothing hasty
about this excellent creature. "I could forgive you being sick," he
said at last, as a portion of the wall fell out, "but I cannot bear
your being such a fool." And with that he heaved up his fireman's axe,
for he was eminently just, and clove the sick man to the bed.